Years ago a guest at a men’s breakfast challenged my use of the term “born again.” Although he was an ordained minister in a church, he found, he told me, the term to be outdated and irrelevant for the 21st century. I don’t feel the liberty of tampering with the text of Scripture and unashamedly believe the Holy Spirit of God guided the human authors to select precise terms in the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek which convey clear spiritual truth.
Take the expression “born again.” The classic reference for this truth is the story of Nicodemus. Here is a senior religious official in Judaism being told by Jesus Christ, he “MUST be BORN AGAIN.”
As I reach the concluding posts for this month on the theme of “Scripture” I want to focus on 1 Peter 1:23-25 where one of Christ’s early followers wrote – “For you have been BORN AGAIN, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.”
Just a few points of meditation
1) The Word of God must be preached. It must be proclaimed by those called to this task.
2) The Word of God which must be preached stands forever. God’s Word, the Bible, is a permanent word. Though there have been many valiant attempts to destroy it, it remains God’s message to us. Thankfully, unlike other faiths, we are not required to learn the original languages in which it was written but are blessed by translators who have through many centuries wrestled with the text and provided us with a plethora of translations and paraphrases in English (among other languages).
3) The Word of God which must be preached and which stands forever is compared to seed and when received through faith and whole-hearted obedience produces NEW BIRTH.
Peter is writing to Christians, to Christ-followers, to those who have had God’s word planted in their hearts and lives and have experienced its transforming power. This ‘seed,’ unlike the various grass seeds and flower seeds which fill out world, produces permanent change.
I’ve been encouraged and challenged in recent days by new readers of this blog. My question for all of you who are reading this post is this – “Have you been BORN AGAIN?” You, like Nicodemus, and every other ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ person MUST be born again if you are to enter the kingdom of God.